After announcing the firing of Coach Paul Dalglish on Thursday, Rowdies owner and president Andrew Nestor said the decision was made because of the importance of an immediate change for FC Tampa Bay's final two matches of the season.
"All parties realized we needed to go another direction and there was no point in waiting," Nestor said Thursday. "So we confidently made the change and start building."
The Rowdies' building continued to stall, however, as the team looked lethargic and outmatched in falling 3-1 to NSC Minnesota on Friday night at Steinbrenner Field.
The Rowdies were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday with a 3-0 loss to Montreal and the struggles continued as the side allowed three first-half Minnesota goals on nine shots Friday.
"We gave up three goals, you know? I think that says enough. Three goals in the first half - that's just not good enough," defender and team captain Julian Valentin said.
FC Tampa Bay is winless since a 2-0 victory against Miami on July 25. The match at home against Miami (12 matches ago) also was the last time the Rowdies scored first against an opponent.
"This has been a consistent bad habit," interim coach Perry Van Der Beck said. "They're professionals and I can't do the job for them and they need to look in the mirror and say, 'Hey, I need to do better.'"
Minnesota struck in the 14th minute after Lucas Rodriguez fired a shot off the chest of Rowdies keeper Daryl Sattler, tracked down the deflection and sent a looping shot from outside the box into the back of the net. The Stars added a second goal in the 36th minute on a Simone Bracalello shot assisted by Devin Del Do.
Del Do followed in the 45th minute with his second assist of the match on a run that exposed a lax Rowdies defense as he easily passed to a waiting Kentaro Takada, who sent in the third Minnesota goal.
Maykel Galindo scored the Rowdies' lone goal in the 73rd minute, his second goal of the season.